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Entries in concert (4)

Monday
Sep252017

Mums and Dads gone wild

I love watching people at concerts and events having a good time.  I wonder where they’re from, what their life is like and imagine that the event is a real chance for them to escape their day to day hum drum.   I especially love watching older people let loose.

Unless they’re at a Tina Arena concert and being annoying.   That shits me.

I love Tina Arena.  She’s one of those women who has had a great career, fought back the haters and found herself.  I love people like that.  Ones who stare in the face of haters and say “Jam it” … or something a little harsher. 

I was excited to be seeing her sing her hits at the Plenary – a small intimate venue.  A great night out with work friends after a big week at work. Except a whole lot of Mums and Dads tried to ruin my good night out.

It started when we sat down.  A nice buzz in the room.  People looking forward to seeing Tina and hearing her music.  We waited.  The room filled up.  The lights went down.  The show started.

A guy to our left yelled, “Hurry up Tina, you’re seven minutes late”.  What a bogan.  A few people giggled.   An artistic looking man in a hat in front of me retaliated loudly, “Don’t worry Tina, you come out when you want”.  Oh God, we’re going to have a Tina Turf War.

After a video montage of her career highlights Tina hit the stage belting out “McArthur Park”.  Wow.  Amazing. Spine tingling. Stunning. We clapped feverishly.  

“I love you Tiiiiiinnnnnnnnaaaa!” yelled a woman from the front of the room.

Tina smiled and said thank you.  As all good, professional, I’ve got my shit together performers do.   She then went on to tell a story about the next song.

“Tiiiinnnaaa!  We love youuuuuu!”, yelled a guy from the back.

A guy from who knows where started wolf whistling.  Mate, we’re not at the strippers.  

How long is this shit going to go on for?  Let Tina tell her story and sing a song.

Over and over,  this went on between every track.   People from all over the venue yelling about their love and adoration for Tina.  I love her too.  I just don’t need to scream my lungs out about it.

The crowd finally settled and the lights dimmed.  Tina started to sing Heaven Help My Heart, a personal favourite.  It wasn’t the usual upbeat poppy version I was used to, but a more mellow style.  I loved it anyway.  I sang along gently - not too loud to freak out the people around me – that’s called concert etiquette.

The woman in front of me fidgeted.  She pulled her phone out of her bag, unlocked it and started texting.  Then she put it back in her bag and stared at the stage.  One minute later, her phone was on her lap again while she responded to more messages.  This went on and on for three songs.  I tried hard to ignore her, however the light of her phone was so bright, she could have used it for a spotlight on the stage.

Finally I couldn’t stand it anymore and leaned over, tapping her on the shoulder.  “Excuse me, but your phone is really bright. Can you please turn it down?”  She looked embarrassed and quickly put her phone away.  The people in our row smiled appreciatively.

For the rest of the set, I watched her tapping her knee, desperate to check her messages.  Be in the moment lady, I thought. 

Tina continued to sing her hits, chatting to the crowd in between each track.  Unfortunately a bunch of fans who don’t know the difference between a footy match and a concert, continued to yell out their love for Tina during brief moments of silence.  

Before she left the stage, Tina thanked everyone for sharing such a special experience with her and for not being stuck on their phones “texting their boyfriends at home” like teenagers.  The woman in front looked at me sheepishly so I gave her my best PR smile.   Even Mums and Dads get FOMO too it seems.  Also, good on her for having a boyfriend who sends her teddy bears and love heart emojis.  There might just be hope for me yet.     

Friday
Oct042013

I didn't know I was beautiful

 

You know, I had no idea I was beautiful.  That I light up the world like nobody else.  How the way I flick my hair makes boys overwhelmed.  Apparently my lack of vanity is what makes me beautiful.  

Thank God for One Direction or I’d be going through life thinking I was a woman with average looks but a killer sense of humour.

My ears are still ringing from spending 2.5 hours with 10,000 screaming girls, but surprisingly, I have a smile on my face.  One Direction’s concert was fun.  I had a great time and yes, 99.5% of the people there could have been my daughter, but age is no sign of maturity.  Or in my case, a love of boy bands. 

I admit, I did buy some ear plugs from the merchandise stand.  This is the best $2 I’ll ever spend I thought to myself as I squished bits of rubber into my ears.  That small cash investment paid for itself several times over in the first five minutes – as soon as the lights went down, blood curdling scream ricocheted off the walls.  How much of this can I sit through, my inner Nanna wondered. 

Suddenly five cute 20 something boys jumped up on stage and my ears started bleeding.   At least it felt that way.   However as soon as Liam opened his mouth to sing, the screaming girls went into a trance.  There was a lot of oohing and aahhhing.  I pulled one of my ear plugs out and was pleasantly surprised to hear harmonies, lyrics about teen love and a fun pop beat.  No stress Nanna, this could be fun.  I threw those $2 ear plugs away.

One by one, One Direction rolled out their hits.  The girls screamed some more.   Zayn looked bored but waved randomly at the crowd so they screamed a little louder.   Louis (who could pass as a chimney sweep from Mary Poppins if you covered him in dirt) sang a few notes and did a bit of winking.  The girls cried and screamed.  I think my heart skipped a little beat.  It could have been the intense deep base vibrating in my chest, but it was probably the start of a crush.  Louis is my favourite. 

The songs are fun and easy to sing along to.  Not that I knew the words.  I just mumbled until I worked out the chorus.  Thousands of young girls drowned me out so I was safe not getting busted for lip syncing badly.  I love pop songs.  They make you happy and help you forget the crap in your life for three minutes.   When they sang “You’ve got that one thing” I thought “Yes I have!”  I don’t what that one thing is, but I’m glad I’ve got it.

We got through all the mushy, semi slow songs that took me back to when I was 15 (about 5 years ago) and then it was time to really rock it out.  One Way or Another is really catchy and you can dance to it.  Which I wanted to do, but I would have blocked the view of the 12 year olds behind me so I just danced in my seat.  The two pink haired girls next to me were saying how One Direction write the BEST songs ever.  I didn’t have the heart to tell them that a blonde woman from the 70s called Blondie did it first.  No time for a history lesson, we had some more screaming to do.

As coloured lasers shot all over the room, the boys jumped on a mini stage and were raised into the air.  They skimmed over the crowd like a flying magic carpet.  It was time to scream some more and take 235 shots on our iphones.  Especially since we’d already spent the first half of the concert watching it on the screens of our phones as we recorded it all.  Being in the moment is magical, but what’s the point if you can’t post crappy videos on Facebook and make your friends jealous?

Harry drove everyone crazy.  He didn’t do anything, he just seems to make teenage girls go wild.  And Taylor Swift. They dated for a while. Apparently he likes Cougars.   Maybe Harry is my favourite. 

When he sang “I can love you more than this” I thought, “Oh no, Harry I’m not sure you can”.  I tweeted that comment and a bunch of 1D fans favourited it.  I am in. 

I was slowly becoming a One Direction fan.  Then I realised something terrible.  They don’t dance.  There are no synchronized moves. No spins, turns or arm movements. They just hang out. And sing.  Niall laid on the floor once and Harry jumped over him.  Zayn wandered up and down the stage.  Liam did an air guitar.  There was no dancing.  None at all.  Are these amateurs really a boy band?

I didn’t get the chance to share my disappointment with the 16 year old next to me who was uploading photos to Instagram, as their hit The Best Song Ever started.  I’m not sure you can call a song The Best Song Ever (bit egotistical, don’t you think?) but no one else seemed to care. So we all got up to dance and sing it really loudly.  It’s a good song.  Maybe One Direction do write the best songs ever. 

Louis made me all gooey when he sang Little Things. It’s a beautiful ballad about cups of tea, wearing tight jeans and me not liking my thighs, but he doesn’t care because he loves me and my little things anyway.  Louis is definitely my favourite.

After a fun filled, glow stick waving, sing along, dance and scream til it hurts kinda night the lights came on and One Direction were gone.  My heart sank a little.  The girls clutched their hand painted signs and we all walked slowly out of the arena, swapping stories of our favourite moments with the boys. We had shared something special and no one will ever be able to replace that. 

Not until Justin Bieber comes to town.

Saturday
Mar092013

KISS Me

 

Super Girl and I went to the KISS concert.  I’m sure she’d never heard of them before (she’s about 12), but I am a bit of a fan, as I vaguely remember hearing them on the radio when I was very young.  I said very. 

My best friend in primary school, Shanny, LOVED Ace Frehley.  I was more of a Leif Garrett girl but she had that cool rock chick attitude I could never pull off.  I knew that one day, Ace would walk into our classroom carrying his electric guitar, wink at her through his silver and black make-upped eye, and whisk her away, leaving me all alone with cranky old Mrs Fain to finish my English essay.  

When Super Girl invited me to see KISS I thought sure, why not?  There are so many old rockers coming back to perform before they a) retire, b) die, and c) to pay off their massive drug and hooker debt from the 80s, that I may not get the chance to see them again.  Also, who doesn’t love a bit of school night rock & roll?

Rock & roll indeed.

As soon as the four men in glitzy costumes came on stage the crowd went crazy.  I’ve never seen so many black t-shirts, ponytails (on men) and tight jeans in my life.  And I grew up in a bogan suburb so that’s a lot of black denim.  Thousand of middle aged men wanting to rock with one of the original glam bands.  I could feel their VB fuelled energy.  We were ready to party.

KISS came bounding onto the stage with enthusiasm and gusto.  This surprised me a little as these are not young men.  Their legendary stage make up of black and white looked great, though close ups on giant screens did emphasise the thick white foundation (think Liquid Paper or craft glue) clogging their crows feet like poly filler.  Theatrical make-up to hide their identity all those years ago is now hiding their age.   Sort of. 

The first song (something to do with a hot chick) was a classic pop rock song with long guitar riffs – awesome – great singing – awesome – and pyrotechnics and explosions every time Ace whacked his bass guitar – super awesome.  I’ve never seen so many explosions in one arena simultaneously.   Does the Environmental Protection Authority know what KISS do every night?  Is no one else concerned about carbon emissions?

Their second song (about a hot chick) had Gene Simmons taking the lead.  This man is not attractive at all, but he can still hold a note and knows how to make an audience love him. Oh and he has a giant tongue.  Massive and long.  That tongue could do you some damage.  He banged his head back and forth as the giant horns on his costume pulsed in time.   At the end of the song, he swigged a mouth full of petrol (or maybe it was bad tequila), grabbed a flame torch and did a bit of fire breathing.  Actually it was more like fire whispering.  His lungs obviously aren’t what they were all those years ago.   Someone should get that man an asthma puffer.

KISS played a few more songs (about hot chicks and partying) and then Paul Stanley grabbed the microphone to chat to us.  I love it when bands engage with the crowd, rather than just standing on stage and pretending the audience aren’t there.  He stood tall and glam in his massive boots, black leather and studs, commanding the crowd.  This man oozed sex, rock and roll.

Then he opened his mouth.

Hayyyyyy, Melllborrrrnne.  Are ya havin’ a goooood tiiiiiiime?  We is here to rooooock you ouuuuuuuttt.  Cannn I tell yaaaaaaa sumfinkkkkk?  We loooovve Orrrrstraylaaaaaahhh!”

WTF?   When did Paul Stanley start sounding like Dustin Hoffman doing a sped up version of Rain Man?

Super Girl turned to me and asked if he was putting on the lispy drawn out voice.  I’ve never heard him speak so I had no idea.  But I assumed no.   He really does sound like an old school New York puddy tat from a cartoon.  Weird.

Two more songs about partying and hot chicks and it was time for Gene Simmons to roll out his best trick.  Spitting blood.   Actually it was more like dribbling blood down his face but the crowd loved it.  We watched for five minutes while the cameras did a close up of Gene’s sticky white face as blood (not his I’m hoping) slowly trickled down his chin.  He was like the Solo man mixed with someone from Twilight.   Just nowhere near as hot.   And way too much tongue. 

In between all the songs featuring hot chicks and partying, Gene and Paul took turns to chat to the crowd.  Part of me was quietly begging Paul not to talk.  I wanted to embrace the sexiness of the rock gods on stage but every time he opened his mouth a little part of me died.  Shhhhh.

The guy behind me didn’t seem to notice.  He was having a party all by himself, playing along on his blow up guitar and singing every song – word for word – loudly.   He’d also provide running commentary every time Rock Rainman talked to the crowd, punctuating Paul’s sentences with “Ahhhh Yeah!!!!” and “You f*cking roooooooock!”  

It was all fun and games until he started head banging so violently that he whacked my friend in the back of her skull.  Someone needed to explain that the term head banging should not be taken literally. 

Gene Simmons handed over the reigns to Ace Frehley to sing their latest hit.   Awesome, he rarely gets the lead so this could be good.  The song was pretty catchy– all about being positive and having a great time – with hot chicks - and when Gene said “Give it up for Tommy” I got confused.   Is Ace now called Tommy?  Did Ace go to Rock Heaven and Tommy is the new dude?  Was Ace born again and is now ‘serious’ so he only wants to be known as Tommy?   I have no idea.  I don’t even care.  I’m just worried about what Shanny, my primary school friend will think.  All her childhood dreams – over – as fast as you can say name change by deed poll.

Thankfully Peter Criss is still their drummer.  He’s still stuck at the back of the stage with his weird cat make up on, banging away like there’s no tomorrow, with hardly any recognition or camera close ups.  Even when they lifted his drum kit up to the ceiling hardly anyone cared.  He could have flown up through the roof like the glass elevator in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and I doubt anyone would notice.  Poor guy, he really did get the raw end of the (drum) stick.

Paul decided he needed to visit the crowd at the back because he “has gooood mannnerrwwssss” and jumped on a standing flying fox, travelling above the crowd to the other side of the stadium.  Unfortunately his giant platform boots got stuck and he spent a few minutes trying to unhinge himself while the other boys played on.   Who knew a wardrobe malfunction could happen to a serious rock band and not just Janet Jackson?

Finally, KISS played one of their big hits and we all went crazy, dancing and singing in the aisles.   “I want to rock and roll all night, and party every day” we screamed over and over, punching our fists in the air, as the glitter cannons shot off thousands of pieces of paper.   As the ticker tape parade filled my mouth, pockets and bag with bits of glitter, I wondered if there was a glitch in the system or the dude on the cannon was getting a little overexcited.   No one could see the stage through the snow of paper.  After five minutes of non stop paper rain, the crowd were covered head to toe skidding around the slippery floor.  I hope those poor cleaners popped it all in the recycling bin when they swept it up.   

When they played their hits, it was amazing and we all had a great time.  Unfortunately there were lots of songs I didn’t know so I entertained myself with the spectacle of the KISS Army.   These people are mad for the band.  They covered their faces in make up, wore old KISS t-shirts, carried flags and knew all the words to all the songs.   I love that shit.  I wish there was a Ke$ha Army.  I’d be all over that like a pash rash on your face.  But I am never drinking my own urine, I don’t care how much she begs me.

I also love that so many of the fans were reliving their childhood with these rockers.  Super Girl thought it was weird, but I reminded her that in 25 years she’ll be doing the same with One Direction, and her teenage daughter would be mocking her and her love of Harry.  She looked unimpressed. 

As the boys played their final song – a massive rock anthem about having a great time with hot chicks – I found myself smiling at the wonder of KISS.  Four men in their 60s on stage with just their instruments and voices – no fancy computers or auto tune to make them sound better – just a group of guys singing and playing their hearts out.  The fans loved it and I think I did too. 

My first KISS was pretty good.  Next time, I’d prefer less tongue.  

Sunday
Jan062013

When I grow up I want to be a diva

Imagine this.  You rock up for work, sit at your desk for five minutes, reply to one email, then get up and to get a coffee.  Your PA sits at your desk and writes your board report.   You come back to your office, reply to two emails and take a phone call.  Then you get up and go to the toilet.  While you are gone, three of your staff have a meeting (without you) and make some important decisions.  You return to your desk, pretend to do some filing, check your voicemail messages, then pack up and go home.

This is what the Mariah Carey concert was like for me.

Let me start by saying, I’m not bagging out Mariah’s show.  I had a great time.  There was amazing singing, dancing by hot men in cool outfits, a fancy light show and lots of beautiful scenery on a big screen.  There was even a glitter cannon.   Mariah was entertaining and chatty, engaging with the crowd whenever she could.  She told a stack of jokes and played up to the ‘crazy’ she’s often known for.   It was a fun night.  She sang lots of her hits and a few special songs for her fans.  They loved it.   We all had a great time. 

My question is this: if you pay to see an artist, do you expect that they will be on stage to entertain you the whole time, or is it okay if they fill part of (or lots of) the show with other people and stuff?

Mariah sang lots of my favourite songs.  This made me happy because I love to lip sync and seat dance at concerts (perfect if no one around you is standing up).   But Mariah’s show involved her singing blocks of two or three songs, then disappearing while someone else on the stage kept us entertained.   I don’t want to lip sync to anyone else, only Mariah. 

At one point, I was belting out Emotions with her (including the high pitched bit only dogs can hear), doing the upward Praise the Lord type hand movements and having a great time.   Ready for the next big pop song or ballad, I was a little disappointed when she left the stage for a costume change and a back up singer rolled out a Michael Jackson track.  I love MJ as much as the next person, but I paid good money to see Mariah. 

Okay, Super Girl got us free tickets but that’s not the point.

Sure, she came back about 8 minutes later in a lovely new sparkly dress, but my Mariah Mojo was gone.

This didn’t just happen once, it happened at least three times. 

Mariah’s voice is amazing.  She’s a funny woman and was cracking jokes about having to do something yourself when no one would hand her a water bottle.  She laughed when she was standing in the dark on stage because the production guy forgot to turn on the spot light.  She joking chastised her photographer for taking too long to bring her a can of VB as a prop saying, “I know you’re busy doing two jobs at once, but we’re on a time limit here, honey.”

In between playing her hits, she did little sing songs about weird stuff like wanting to go on a holiday to Fiji but not having time because she had to “tour Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and wherever else I have to go next”.   It was funny and random and very Mariah.

So you can see why I’m disappointed that I got so much action from her crew, when really all I wanted for Christmas was Mariah.

J-Lo was similar with a big, sexy and slick production filled with videos in between her amazing singing and dancing.  Again, I had a great time, but do I want a multi media extravaganza with lots of breaks or a band belting out their songs for the audience?   

Kelly Clarkson is a low fuss, sing ‘em loud and proud type entertainer and I love seeing her in concert.  She stands in front of thousands of people in a t-shirt and denim skirt and sings her little heart out, punctuating songs with stories of why she wrote those lyrics (someone broke her heart, she got angry and this is why he’s an asshole.  Sure, Kelly I can relate to that.)  The simplicity of her gigs is refreshing.   I didn’t even mind when she took her shoes off at the start of the show and sang in bare feet. Raw.  Real.  (Skinny Bitch was a bit grossed out but she doesn’t like eating with her hands either so that’s no surprise).

Which is better?   A polished, multi platform show akin to Cirque Du Soleil production values or a person you love – full of emotion, in the flesh, singing live like there’s no tomorrow?

Maybe there’s room for both.  Either way, I know that next time Mariah comes town, I’m going to apply for a job in the venue canteen.  There’s a good chance I'll get to lip sync We Belong Together on stage during one of her costume changes.  

 

** Awesome Mariah concert photo stolen from Super Girl